To the people who think I should be ashamed of my Mental Illness

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I used to feel ashamed of my mental health condition. Whereas now I refuse to let stigma and stereotypes dictate how I feel about myself. If you stigmatize me, that is your ignorance, it is not my truth. Stigma is cruel and dated.

People with mental illnesses are not damaged; they are not what you see in the news, on TV or in the movies. They are people: sisters, fathers, sons, daughters, and brothers. They are valuable, unique, awesome members of your community. They are the one in four; they are not some kind of scary monster.

Shame is toxic to the human sprit, I have let mine go and chose to replace it with pride and acceptance, if people choose to shame me all they want they can even throw a big ol’shame party. However it is my choice whether I choose to attend or not and I will not be attending! Sorry!

It’s not my fault 

I did not choose this; it is not a negative personality trait or a character flaw. It is a chemical imbalance in my brain, something I do not have control over. I am not guilty of something; I don’t have a mental health condition because I am weak, or don’t try hard enough or have no willpower. Depression is completely different to normal sadness, Anxiety is not ‘just worrying’ People with mental illnesses cant just snap out of it. Know the facts.

I’m proud of how far I’ve come and now I can help others

It takes a lot of bravery to get help for a mental health condition and stick with the treatment. It takes a lot of strength to tell your story for the hundredth time, advocate for yourself when your care is crappy, try an array of different medications until you find the right one. People say hope is right in front of you, but depression is a blindfold and it takes so much strength to keep searching in the dark. Recovery is an everyday process, you’re always looking and finding things that will help you cutting and pasting them together to make some beautiful art. It is a constant project that takes an awful lot of energy and willpower. I’m proud that I am speaking out and trying to help others as we build our artwork together.

My pain has become my power

I’m not ashamed of my pain, I think its made me more of a compassionate person, it’s given me wisdom and inspiration. I would not be who I am today or where I am without my pain and I believe that pain is something we can use to transform us. It becomes our torch we hand to others in the midst of the darkness. When we break down and lose everything, we can also rebuild ourselves stronger and wiser. If the pain I have experienced means I can help at least one person by sharing my story, then it has all been worth it.

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